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The big bang theory

Submitted by on October 26, 2010 – 9:56 am4 Comments

(c) Rustle Hart

The FA has confirmed that FC United’s FA Cup first round tie at Rochdale will be screened live on ESPN on Friday, November 5, kick off 7.45pm.

The club will receive £67,500 for the privilege of being put on a subscription TV channel on Bonfire Night.

The decision raises a host of issues for a club founded on principles opposed to matches being rearranged to suit the whims of television companies. It won’t sit right for many supporters, but a vote was carried at a general meeting back in 2006, when members (the club’s owners) voted to accept the terms and conditions of entering the FA Cup – namely that games may be moved for television.

The vote was quite unanimous, if I remember rightly, and therefore, although far from ideal and disgraceful that a fixture can be moved in this way, we can’t really complain as we democratically voted for it.

The fact that most of us thought it a remote possibility it would ever become an issue is irrelevant. In five years we have achieved a lot and on Friday, November 5 we have a great chance to hammer home our message.

We are probably the only club in the history of televised FA Cup first round coverage to even have a debate or vote on this issue. I’d bet every other club would bite the company’s hand off at the first sign of a cheque floating their way. And fair play to them, as they are mostly run on different agendas to FC United, with many struggling to survive. Rochdale will welcome the money and should we have kicked up a fuss we would have prevented them getting a much-needed boost too. Not to mention the small matter of FC raking in cash which is nearly the equivalent to our whole year’s budget in one match.

However, these factors don’t mean what is happening is right. We all know, and categorically agree, that football should be played at 3pm on a Saturday. Therefore let’s make the most of this unfortunate situation and leave people in no doubt as to what we stand for. Banners opposing television coverage, particularly Sky TV, Glazer, Thatcher, Tory cuts and other abhorrent menaces should be extremely prevalent alongside our usual celebratory efforts soaked in red, white and black. And of course, let’s promote our community share issue with gusto.

Those who will deride this notion as ‘distracting’ should give themselves a little pep talk. FC United is about more than winning football matches and more than the FA Cup. It’s about promoting a better way for football and helping give the game back to the people who started it and built it, before they were cast off in an act of social cleansing by greedy businessmen who used our loyalty and passion to make themselves a very big butty.

Furthermore, a team playing live on television without a sponsor soiling their shirts will make a huge statement that cannot be underestimated. It sends a most powerful message out to the thousands who will be watching. It will make them think, at the very least. The lack of corporate nonsense across our chests is what sets us apart from everyone else. It is something that should never be compromised, for whatever price or material gain.

Be proud, be loud and let’s continue the mancunian tradition of making something good out of a tricky situation. If we go out, let’s do it with a bang (we couldn’t have a piece on a match taking place on November 5th without at least one Bonfire-themed gag – forgive me, giddiness is setting in…)

4 Comments »

  • midjmo says:

    Club statement:

    FA Cup v Rochdale. Date and Time Announcement

    We would like to advise supporters that our FA Cup 1st Round Proper tie against Rochdale will take place on Friday 5th November, kick off 7.45pm

    On the morning after our victory over Barrow (Monday 25th October), the Club was informed by Rochdale AFC that the FA had contacted them to say that ESPN had requested our game be shown live on their channel on the evening of Friday November 5th. Each club will be paid £67 500 for the game to be shown, a sum of money undoubtedly valuable to both clubs. We were asked by Rochdale if we had any opposition to the game being switched. It was reassuring to learn that such a switch is not enforced by broadcasters and that we had a choice, but nonetheless this presented us with an immediate decision to make.

    We recognise that playing such a high-profile, important game on a Friday evening is not ideal, not least of all for those supporters who live outside of the Greater Manchester area. It is an unfortunate consequence of our democracy that any decision the Board takes will not always meet with the approval of every FC United supporter as there are a wide range of circumstances and opinions to take into account, not all of which can be represented by the final decision. However, by accepting this offer the Board feels they have acted in the best interests of the Club as a whole, both in the immediate and long term, as it increases awareness of what we’re doing in Newton Heath and removes some of the enormous pressures of running a football club whilst playing at Gigg Lane.

    In reaching this decision the Board took into account a number of factors including the financial incentive, the impact on the team, the overriding goal of reaching Ten Acres Lane, and most of all the impact on supporters.

    With these considerations in mind the crucial factor which guided the Board towards the final decision was the previously held members vote on FA Cup participation. At this meeting members voted for the Club to enter the FA Cup on the precondition that progression into the 1st round proper and beyond may invite offers to play our games live on television. It was the view of the Board that this ‘yes’ vote constituted a steer to consider this offer from ESPN. Of course we had the power to decline their offer, but in the absence of any overwhelming opposition when the issue was debated, the Board felt we had a mandate to accept.

    The Board always strives to avoid making unilateral decisions and always acts in the interests and according to the wishes of its members. We believe we have again done so, but of course the beauty of our democratic structure ensures that if there is opposition to this decision then members can submit resolutions on future participation, votes can be taken and any future decision be influenced accordingly.

    That democratic input should be cherished and held dear by all members, because as much as the decisions themselves it was the lack of a voice, a lack of an influence in decision-making that led to the disillusionment of many before our formation. FC United members will always have that voice and can therefore continue to make strategic decisions and dictate the direction of our club.

    We would also like to advise supporters that Rochdale, mindful of the affect it may have on both clubs’ revenue, asked us if we had any opposition to prices being lowered from their usual prices of £20 for adults and £14 for concessions to £12 for adults, £8 for concessions and £5 for under 16’s. We had no hesitation in accepting this fantastic gesture, which helps us to meet our constitutional aim of providing affordable football for match going fans.

    We hope that as many people as possible can make it to Spotland for what will be the biggest game in the Club’s history. Regardless of the result, the impact of this fantastic run in the FA Cup will be felt long after the final whistle on November 5th and evidenced in our onward march to Ten Acres Lane, Newton Heath.

    The Board of FC United of Manchester.

  • jstand says:

    There is a subtle but significant difference to FC Utd fans turning out on a Friday as there would be to, say, Manchester United season ticket holders asked to turn up at 1230 on a Sunday, both at the behest of television. And that difference is the final destination of the money. At United you turned out at daft times to see the team but knowing that the money paid to the club was going straight in the pockets of players and Directors. With this payment we have the satisfaction of knowing that every penny is ours and it will be used to further our Club’s aims. If every football club was run like ours then it would be absolutely fine for TV companies to pay decent money to move games because it’s a straightforward choice on the part of the members to accept the cash and improve the health of their club or don’t take the cash and play at 3pm on a Saturday. And that’s completely different to being told to like it or lump it. In other words Midjmo, your use of the word “disgraceful” is only relevant or fair because the majority of clubs and indeed football in general is run by cunts who are happy to fuck supporters about because it financially suits them.

  • midjmo says:

    Fair comment J. I wish it was 1986 again.

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